Peppermint is perhaps one of the most recognisable and familiar aromas in the UK, and certainly one of our most popular essential oils. It’s sweet, crumbly, uniquely cooling aroma is a national favourite, but there is so much more to peppermint than meets the eye (or nose!). So, what is peppermint essential oil good for?
Native to the Mediterranean, peppermint now grows in abundance across the globe. There are many varieties within the mint family and peppermint is believed to be a natural hybrid of Watermint and Spearmint. Peppermint is a perennial herb with dark green, spear-shaped, ‘toothed’ leaves, with white or mauve flowers. The essential oil – Mentha piperita – is steam distilled from the leaves. It belongs to the Lamiacea family, which is the same botanical family that all of the herb essential oils belong to. A fairly consistent quality of the herb oils is that you only need to touch a plant in this family for it to release its aroma – peppermint being one of the most generous with its fragrance output.
Peppermint is mentioned many times throughout history. Commonplace in Greek and Roman culture, it was used to scent bath water and fabrics and was thought to help calm nerves. Pliny, a Roman Philosopher, declared the ‘very smell of it alone recovers and refreshes the spirit’. Peppermint essential oil is indeed fresh, invigorating and of course minty. This is due to its high ‘menthol’ content, which is what makes it instantly recognisable and instantly refreshing.
When it comes to aromatherapy, peppermint has many qualities. It’s used as a digestive tonic, to ease muscular aches and pains and to invigorate the mind. It is also helpful to deter spiders and other creepie crawlies! It’s a perfect essential oil for the summer as it’s cooling aroma and properties can help take the heat off. You can use it in a massage blend to help soothe skin exposed to too much sun, in a foot bath to help cool hot tired feet or add a few drops to a tissue and inhale to help ease travel sickness. The big question is, what can’t peppermint essential oil do?
Peppermint essential oil blends well with the other herb essential oils and adds a very interesting note to citrus essential oils. A personal favourite of mine is to diffuse it with sweet orange.
Why not try using Peppermint essential oil in these suggested blends:
‘Too Much Sun’ Body Oil
Cooling and soothing for sun-exposed skin.
Add the following essential oils to 10ml of Blending Oil and apply gently to areas that are feeling overheated:
1 drop of Peppermint – Mentha piperita
3 drops of Lavender – Lavandula angustifolia
1 drop of Roman Chamomile – Anthemis nobilis
Invigorating Diffuser Blend
Perfect for a hot summer’s day, refreshing and uplifting in its aroma.
Add the following essential oils to the water in your Aroma Spa Diffuser:
2 drops of Peppermint – Mentha piperita
2 drops of Cardamom – Elettaria cardamom
4 drops of Lemon – Citrus limon
About Jo Kellett
Our essential oil expert, Jo Kellett TIDHA MIFPA CIMI, graduated from the Tisserand Institute of Holistic Aromatherapy in 1996. She returned to the college in 1999 as Essential Oil Therapeutics Tutor, where she taught until the college closed. Jo runs a successful private Aromatherapy practice in Brighton, specialising in Women’s health. Jo is also an internationally published author and has lectured on the subject of Aromatherapy both in the UK and abroad.